Day pa­role de­nied

Pa­role board’s ap­peal di­vi­sion up­holds de­ci­sion against con­victed North Kentville child pornog­ra­pher

Valley Journal Advertiser - - NEWS - BY KIRK STARRATT KINGSCOUNTYNEWS.CA Kirk.starratt@kingscountynews.ca

The Pa­role Board of Canada’s ap­peal di­vi­sion has up­held a board de­ci­sion from ear­lier this year to deny day pa­role to a North Kentville man serv­ing a fed­eral sen­tence for sex crimes in­volv­ing chil­dren.

The board’s ap­peal di­vi­sion re­viewed a Jan. 16 de­ci­sion to deny day pa­role to Ja­son Troy Pitts, 42, at a June 13 hear­ing.

“Mr. Pitts, the ap­peal di­vi­sion finds that you have not raised any grounds that would cause it to in­ter­vene in the board’s de­ci­sion to deny your day pa­role,” the writ­ten de­ci­sion states.

Pitts pleaded guilty in Oc­to­ber 2014 to charges of mak­ing, pos­sess­ing and ac­cess­ing child pornog­ra­phy and to eight counts of con­spir­ing to com­mit sex­ual as­sault on a child.

At sen­tenc­ing, the court heard that Pitts was in­volved in an online web stream­ing organization where he was com­mu­ni­cat­ing with in­di­vid­u­als in the Philip­pines. Pitts had chil­dren per­form sex­ual acts with other chil­dren or with women for money.

There were five or six live shows and, in two in­stances, Pitts recorded these on his com­puter. Pitts had a col­lec­tion of child porn im­ages and videos aside from the record­ings of the live shows. Po­lice re­ported more than 50 money trans­fers be­tween Pitts and his con­tacts abroad be­tween Jan­uary 2011 and April 2012.

Pitts was sen­tenced on Feb. 4, 2015, to five years on the con­spir­acy charges and two years for mak­ing, pos­sess­ing and ac­cess­ing child porn.

The ap­peal di­vi­sion con­sid­ered Pitts’ sub­mis­sions that the board based its Jan­uary de­ci­sion on er­ro­neous in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the de­tails of his of­fence and whether or not Pitts was in di­rect contact with the vic­tims. It notes that Pitts has stated that he’s work­ing on hav­ing this in­for­ma­tion cor­rected.

Pitts sub­mit­ted that the Cor­rec­tional Ser­vice of Canada (CSC) did not fully com­plete the com­mu­nity as­sess­ment re­quested by the board. It is the ju­ris­dic­tion of CSC to carry out the as­sess­ment and not that of the board, the de­ci­sion stated. The board does not have ju­ris­dic­tion to cor­rect in­for­ma­tion, there­fore Pitts’ sub­mis­sions on this sub­ject were not con­sid­ered for the pur­poses of the ap­peal.

Pitts also sub­mit­ted that he never stated that he was no longer in­ter­ested in pur­su­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal coun­selling and said he was told he was a low pri­or­ity for these ser­vices.

He also sub­mit­ted that the board did not have all the in­for­ma­tion re­quired about his com­mu­nity re­sources. Pitts said his last pa­role hear­ing was ad­journed in or­der to de­ter­mine whether or not com­mu­nity sup­ports were avail­able to him but that these com­mu­nity as­sess­ments were never com­pleted de­spite hav­ing been re­quested by the board.

Ac­cord­ing to the de­ci­sion, the role of the ap­peal di­vi­sion is not to re­assess the is­sue of risk to re-of­fend and sub­sti­tute its dis­cre­tion for that of the orig­i­nal de­ci­sion mak­ers un­less it finds that the de­ci­sion was un­rea­son­able and un­sup­ported by the in­for­ma­tion avail­able at the time the de­ci­sion was made.

In Pitts’ case, the ap­peal di­vi­sion found it was rea­son­able for the board to have con­cluded that his risk would be un­due while on day pa­role and that the board’s de­ci­sion was based on re­li­able, rel­e­vant and per­sua­sive in­for­ma­tion. The board’s writ­ten rea­sons in­di­cate it con­sid­ered both pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive el­e­ments in its anal­y­sis.

The board con­cluded that Pitts has made some progress in ad­dress­ing his risk fac­tors and that he did par­tic­i­pate in core pro­gram­ming. How­ever, the board found that his re­lease plan was not suf­fi­cient, con­sid­er­ing his risk and needs, and that de­spite mak­ing progress, this was re­cent and untested out­side of a medium- se­cu­rity fa­cil­ity. The board’s writ­ten rea­sons note that Pitts’ rein­te­gra­tion po­ten­tial is as­sessed as low, which is why a com­mu­nity as­sess­ment was not ini­tially com­pleted.

With re­gard to Pitts’ sub­mis­sion that he was not given the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in psy­cho­log­i­cal coun­selling, the ap­peal di­vi­sion found that this was not a de­ter­min­ing fac­tor in the board’s de­ci­sion. While the board does state that Pitts needs to do more in the way of pro­gram­ming and change, the board does not spec­ify what form this might take. The ap­peal di­vi­sion found that the board’s con­clu­sion is rea­son­able based on this in­for­ma­tion and the board’s anal­y­sis.

The ap­peal di­vi­sion found that com­mu­nity as­sess­ments were con­ducted for Pitts. The first was on March 17, 2015, and in­di­cates that Pitts has the sup­port of a fam­ily mem­ber but that the in­di­vid­ual may not be able to of­fer ac­com­mo­da­tion de­pend­ing on health con­cerns at the time of Pitts’ re­lease.

The results of a sec­ond com­mu­nity as­sess­ment on Dec. 11, 2017, were that local com­mu­nity based res­i­den­tial fa­cil­i­ties, a com­mu­nity corrections cen­tre and the po­lice were not sup­port­ive of Pitts’s re­lease.

While the ap­peal di­vi­sion found that Pitts’ com­mu­nity sup­ports were not con­tacted for the pur­poses of the sec­ond com­mu­nity as­sess­ment, it was rea­son­able for the board to have found that his re­lease plan was not suf­fi­cient. There were no re­sources will­ing to ac­com­mo­date Pitts on day pa­role at the time the re­view was con­ducted and his rein­te­gra­tion po­ten­tial re­mained as­sessed as low.

The writ­ten de­ci­sion also pointed out that at the start of his hear­ing, Pitts was asked if he was ready to pro­ceed and he in­di­cated that he was. At no time dur­ing the hear­ing did Pitts in­di­cate that he wanted to ei­ther post­pone the hear­ing or for the board to ad­journ.

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